100 Days of Mindfulness
by Tracey Moore Lukkarila
review by Julie Carpenter
This book is subtitled: a daily journal to soothe anxiety, stress, and emotional distress through mindful living. It is a one-hundred-day exercise in learning to overcome negative thinking and to be present in your own body, in the moment you are given.
There is no denying the difficulty of remaining present in our Western culture. Society values thoughts about the future, orienting on success and tasks to be achieved. Until very recently therapeutic thought focused almost solely on past issues; patients were advised that their current difficulties could all be traced to the past. There’s very little emphasis on fully living in the now. As such, many people struggle with intrusive thoughts and racing minds. This journey into mindfulness is meant as a daily guide to living in the present.
The author of this book, my friend, Tracey Moore Lukkarila, used journaling to help her deal with her clinical depression. The exercises contained in this journal are things she personally used to help refocus her mind and find peace in the present.
Each day lists activities for the reader. As each exercise is introduced, both the purpose and practice are succinctly and simply explained. The author also adds encouragement (and reminders that there are no right answers) throughout. There are exercises to help reframe negative thoughts and to express gratitude. There are also exercises that refocus the mind on the body, like listening to shower sounds or journaling about nature in detail.
There is space for writing down answers, but it might be wise to invest in a small notebook, not only for extra space but also because you may find yourself repeating many of the exercises after 100 days or you may find that you have some favorite exercises that you want to journal about again, as I did. The book is well laid out with plenty of white space. The hints and explanations are spare and simple. Even the visuals of the book are designed to be calming instead of busy.
Although the book is meant as an everyday journal for 100 straight days, I find that I can use it when I am stressed and then put it up for a few days or sometimes weeks at a time and return to it. Many of the assignments stick with you even when you are not journaling, like focusing on your sense of smell or the fact that you have clean water. Most exercises are simple enough to remember even if you don’t have the book handy.
I have not been diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder, but like many people, I am stressed and busy, sometimes to the point where I find it difficult to function. This book is an excellent tool for developing a more mindful day to day presence in the world. I highly recommend it.
Tracey Moore Lukkarila has worked in the health insurance industry for nearly two decades, holds a BBA and certificate in Public Health, and is a registered yoga teacher. She aims to bring her professional and personal experiences together to advocate for mental health and to help others who struggle. She lives with her husband Troy and their 6 cats and dog in Florida. Visit her blog traceylukkarila.com.